• By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 11 2006

Rejection. Ugh.

I understand rejection. I get rejected too, remember. Believe it or not, not every single book I send out there for publication wins the prize. So I know very well what this feels like: In fact, everyone in publishing understands rejection. Writers get rejected by agents and editors. Agents get rejected by editors. Editors get rejected by publishers and sales forces. The salespeople get rejected too, and so on down the line. There are a few things I’ve never done after getting rejected, however.

I’ve never called an editor and argued over a rejection letter.

I’ve never told an editor that I deserve a critique. I assume if they didn’t like it . . . well, that’s enough of a reason for me. I don’t necessarily want an editor representing one of my authors if she’s less than enthusiastic.

I’ve never called an editor names, told an editor he or she has no taste, or hung up on anyone.

I’ve never accused an editor of asking for manuscripts from me so he or she can profit from the recycling (seriously, people!).

I realize that editors work hard. They must carefully make decisions about where their time is best spent. They look for reasons to reject most manuscripts, and it’s my job to try to make sure they don’t find any. They read at nights and on the weekends, and not at their desks with their feet up and a box of Godivas at their side. Reading time takes time away from family, friends, fun, and nonwork obligations. They need to prove to a whole range of people that their choices are worthwhile . . . and it’s my job to give them the ammunition they need.

Oh, wait, that’s what agents do, too!

Next time you get a rejection, please know that it’s not a personal statement, it’s a professional one. And act accordingly.

Thanks! We strive to make rejection as painless as possible. We know how you feel . . . really!


5 responses to “Rejection”

  1. Great post, Jacky.

    Nobody likes to be rejected but, unfortunately, it’s a part of the business.

    I remember years ago, having drinks with a well-known mystery editor at a writers conference. He was telling a story about an editor who’d received a special delivery package containing cow manure following a rejection.

    At least, everyone had hoped that the manure was from a cow. 🙂


  2. Avatar Bernita says:

    Faye…that boggles.
    I am pleased to know that in accepting rejection, I was “brought up right.”

  3. Avatar jolinn says:

    the great thing about writers is our underwhelming sense of reality. Sure it’s rejection now, but tomorrow is another day.

  4. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    I really think rejection is a matter of considering baggage…we all take our own personal baggage with us when we read, and editors are going to do the same thing. What works for me and possibly my agent might totally throw an editor. Writing is such a crapshoot.

  5. It always amazes me to hear the horror stories agents go through. So many wackos out there making it difficult for the rest of us. I’ve received plenty of rejections for various things over the years (even one from Kim Lionetti!), and I’ve never even thought about following up with the rejector. They didn’t like this project, that’s their business and is fine with me.